The men’s baseball team will have their first game of the season on Valentine’s Day, it is shaping up to be an interesting run for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Last year, the Chanticleers took home their second consecutive Sunbelt Championship title and had a decent conference season with a 15-13 record.
Outside of the conference, they had a 21-13-1 record, but consistently struggled against teams like Clemson, College of Charleston, and North Carolina, all of which they will face again this year.
With 20 newcomers and only one returning starting fielder, there is a very young team. While CCU has played a long-ball game the last few years, this season will be a return to small ball.
Gary Gilmore is the head coach, and this will be his 25th year coaching at CCU. He is 37 wins away from 1,000 won games at the university.
“We have to go back to the old formula that got us to a point where we were a national contender,” said Gilmore. “Hit enough to survive, but play great defense, steal a base here and there, a short game, and do the things to just play old fashioned baseball.”
Despite a very young team, Coach Gilmore and the returning players seem very optimistic about the season.
‘“We’ve got a lot of young guys, but they’re maturing quickly, and they really followed what guys like [Zac] McCambley and I have put into place,” said senior Scott McKeon.
Shortly after being named an All-American player, we learned that starting pitcher Parker Chavers was injured and will be out until late April at the very earliest. Chavers and his teammates have said that he is taking on a coaching role in teaching the new players.
Chavers said he would like to be back by April 24, when the Chanticleers will be heading to his hometown in Alabama, but that it is more likely that he will be back by May 1. That would have him playing the last 10 games of the regular season, and then into the playoffs.
With Chavers out for most of the season, pitching will be led by junior McCambley and senior Scott Kobos. Conway graduates and cousins Will Smith and Jay Causey will likely be in the bullpen.
CCU’s first home game will be Friday, Feb. 14 at 4 p.m. They will face UNC Greensboro.